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BMW Group have released details of a UK government-supported trial of the day-to-day running of 40 electric cars which saw 138 individuals rack up over 250,000 miles in electric Mini-e vehicles over the course of 12 months.

The headline findings of the researched backed by the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme and funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Department for Transport, were that it cost under 2p per mile to charge the vehicles which were driven an average of 29.7 miles per day, almost all of the recharging was undertaken at the driver’s home an low winter temperatures affected the distance that could be driven between charges.

In the trial, 62 members of the public and 76 pool users ran the 2-seater battery-powered Mini hatchbacks over two six-month periods. The cars and the recharging points were fitted with data-loggers, with driver research carried out by Oxford Brookes University.

The average daily journey distance of 29.7 miles proved to be slightly more than mileage covered by a control group of Mini Cooper and BMW 116i cars which averaged 26.5 miles each day, 1.5 miles more than the national daily average for private cars. The average single trip distance in the trial was 9.5 miles compared to the UK average of 7 miles.

The trial found that drivers recharged their vehicles an average of 2.9 times per week, with 82% of the drivers recharging using their wall-mounted charging box 90% of the time.

The Oxford Brookes University researchers asked for suggestions to deal with the potential danger from the low noise at low speeds, to which 28% of drivers said they’d like to have a warning noise below 12.5mph.

96% of the drivers in the trial said they’d consider buying an electric car as a result of taking part, with 51% saying they would pay a third more for an electric vehicle. 30% said they’d consider purchasing one within a year and 55% said they would wait for two or more years.

In the context of fleet, users who swapped out of their regular car reported that the Mini-e was fine for 70% of journeys made during the working day, with that rate rising to 80-90% for pool car use.

The MINI E trial was one of eight UK projects supported by the £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Department for Transport. These are aimed at bringing forward the introduction of viable electric passenger vehicles to the UK.

Commenting on the findings, Suzanne Gray, General Manager of BMW i said, “The feedback from the trial has been invaluable in helping our understanding of how people really respond to electric cars and other factors necessary to support electric car drivers. With this information we will be in a strong position to provide a well-rounded product and service proposition to customers of the BMW i3 and to work with other players in the electric vehicle market to make it a successful experience for a new generation of users.”

Explaining the importance of the research, Kulveer Ranger, Mayor of London’s environment director, said, ‘Electric driving technology is coming on leaps and bounds, but people naturally still have questions and concerns. Research such as this by BMW Group into real life experiences is invaluable as it debunks some common myths and underscores why electric vehicles are perfect for urban driving. The trial has also demonstrated the importance attached to supporting infrastructure, which is why the Mayor of London has launched Source London to provide a network of charge points that will help to create optimal conditions for electric vehicle use in the UK’s capital.’

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